Professional translators threatened by Duolingo (forum discussion)
You might find this amusing:
Everyone here seems to be getting great joy from the site. I don't think any professional translator need worry. There's an awful lot of internet out there. There are also many people who are interested in all sorts of obscure information that we are working towards translating. If we can do the donkey work in the areas that professional translators are unlikely to be working on, well, we're going to achieve a better result than a computer generated translation.
Anyway, I feel that there's a purpose to what I'm doing, and I am loving it :)
Ya, I've seen reactions like that from translators on Twitter too. They are pretty united in their fear and loathing of Duolingo. The crazy thing that is they are never, ever going to be hired to translate Wikipedia, or 99.99999% of the web for that matter, so I am not sure exactly what they are so worried about. There is always going to be a need for professional translation, particularly for books and legal or business matters, to say nothing of interpretation. But let's just wait a year. Then they'll probably be saying how wonderful Duolingo is for learning new languages and expanding their translation business. ;)
I'm not sure if we need some of the bad blood comments I'm reading here. Some of the folks on duolingo are both professional translators and duolingo users. We aren't talking about greedy piranha. From what I'm reading, these are translators who are worried that the means to feed themselves and their families are shrinking. And They might be right. Heck, Duolingo is doing a good job keeping up so far but with the rate of technology change I can't guess how long DL will be in business in this same form. Right now there is a prototype translator that translates almost as fast as we speak with a very small lag time for sentence configuration. If those get perfected and eventually become affordable, people can just walk around with portable translating devices that will probably find their way onto a phone chip eventually. I love duolingo, I love learning here. This is the easiest, so far best (for me) access I have found to this many languages and folks to celebrate that with. It's these translators fears today (or rather back in 2012) and Duolingo's fears tomorrow. Let's leave the acrimony and sarcasm to someone else.
Duolingo is great and a great idea. When professional interpreters agree to give back all they earn - and then some - to those using their services, then they will be in a position to compete with the spirit of Duolingo. I have absolutely no objection to people earning a living but - to be critical of a system that is improving peoples lives?? Come on...